Curve explains the difference between online and offline transactions

One of the features we pride ourselves upon at Curve is showing your transactions in real time across all your cards. It feels like a bit of magic to pay for something and immediately see it flash up on your phone, keeping you on top of your daily spending. But sometimes when you make a Contactless transaction, it won’t come up automatically. There’s a reason for this, and it is all to do with the difference between online and offline transactions.

Let’s give you the background. The Curve team got their hands on the very first Curve cards on Christmas Eve 2015. They soon noticed something slightly odd, some transactions were showing up late. We knew it wasn’t a problem with Curve, and soon realised that all of these transactions had been paid for with Contactless, at merchants such as Transport for London, Pret and Waitrose.

The reason is this. When you make a Contactless payment, because the cap is at £30, the merchant doesn’t have to be ‘online’ to process it there and then. They can choose to do it later that day, or even the following day in a big batch - which is what Transport for London does. They even go one step further and process next working day, so you could see a payment made on Saturday appear in your transaction list on Monday. In contrast, Chip & Pin payments are always online, and are processed there and then.

So, be aware that if you use Contactless, your transaction may show up slightly later in the day or the day after. We’re doing our best to close this gap, but annoyingly it’s something out of our control!

Alan McAlpine

Product Marketing Manager at Curve.

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